10 Crazy Ways Kids Grew Up In The Inca Empire

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10 Crazy Ways Kids Grew Up In The Inca Empire



The Inca Empire was prosperous from the mid-1430s to 1572 when Spain’s Francisco Pizarro conquered them. This civilization spread from most of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and part of Southern Colombia. If you were lucky enough not to be part of the 25 percent of kids who died before age five, you would have had a tough upbringing. That doesn’t include all the strange and downright unsanitary things you’d have to endure.


10The Ceremony That Killed Children


Photo credit: Live Science

Yes, Incas sacrificed their kids! This may be more of how a kid died instead of lived in the Inca Empire. It’s crazy to think about, but this ritual (calledcapacocha) was used for special events like a ruler’s death or victory in a battle. It was actually an honor for the chosen child’s family to have their kid sacrificed on the highest mountaintop in Peru. Incas would also sacrifice children to the gods to prevent droughts, widespread illness, etc.

Before the ceremony began, the chosen children were brought to the city’s capital, Cuzco. Tons of citizens gathered to feast there before taking the child up the mountain to sacrifice him or her. Although they didn’t discriminate based on gender, most of the children’s mummies found by archaeologists have been girls.

The kid was given alcohol and poison to drink. This caused the child to vomit and slowly die on the mountain—which could have taken weeks or months to travel to. The child was left to freeze to death if extreme dehydration didn’t take her first. Sometimes, a child was suffocated or died from a massive blow to the head.

9The Incas Were Ageists


Photo credit: Claus Ableiter

The quipu (pictured above) was the Inca’s way of recording and keeping data. Although we still don’t know how to read a quipu, we do know that the Incas were kind of ageist. About twice a year, they took a census to record the number of people in the empire and to put each individual into one of 10 classes.

The Incas divided their citizens into groups based on age, with those 25–50 years old considered the most prosperous and important to the empire’s economy. The Incas counted them first and considered them higher in class. Next came those who were 60–70 years old, followed by 18- to 20-year-olds, then 10- to 17-year-olds, 5- to 9-year-olds, toddlers, and finally, babies.

This shows that young kids were not seen as beneficial to the Incas. It sounds terrible because the Incas did rely on sacrificing children. Their elders reportedly beat kids often until the children surpassed age nine—probably because kids really needed discipline in this empire.


8Learning Advanced Skills As A Little Kid


Inca children, especially girls younger than nine, knew how to spin yarn made from llama and alpaca fur. Spanish drawings of the civilization show representations of Inca girls doing household chores at around five years old. They also knew how to brew beer.

Still, kids could not drink beer or eat certain foods like sugary, fatty types. They needed to be as healthy as possible for marriage. Teen boys were like shepherds to their llamas while the younger boys started learning how to trap birds and guinea pigs. Incas ate guinea pigs as a common dish.

Unsurprisingly, young girls were expected to be submissive and had to stay away from men until they were put in arranged marriages. They probably didn’t appear to be very feminine at first to the Spanish conquistadors because these girls had to keep their hair cut short and didn’t wear shoes. Their entire lives were spent in preparation for marriage and taking care of a family.

7Sick Kids Had To Sit In Pee


Photo credit: filmmakeriq.com

If a child was very ill, the Incas believed that he could suck on the umbilical cord (that the parents had preserved) since the umbilical cord soaked up any evil from within the child. It’s unclear how they kept the umbilical cords. However, like the Egyptians, the Incas probably preserved body parts like this by keeping them cold in freezing mountain streams.

Getting a fever, like all kids do at one point or another, was a dreaded thing. At least, it probably would be for us now. This is because soaking in a huge tub filled entirely with the family’s urine supposedly healed kids who had a fever.

6The Babies And Toddlers Were Treated More Like Things


A Spanish priest recorded how mothers took care of their babies. For fear of giving the babies too much attention or causing them to be constantly needy, the mothers would take the babies to a cold stream in the mountains and bathe them for days.

It wasn’t until the toddlers were two that they earned a name and official place in the family. This was probably because so many newborns and toddlers died in 15th-century Peru. The baby would continue to be taken to these “freezing baths” until they were about two years old. The mother would refrain from even hugging the baby in these early years of the baby’s life.

Of course, a mother would make a pouch sling that wrapped around her back. The baby would sit in the sling while the mother gathered herbs and did other outdoor chores. Once the baby turned two, he or she had a ceremony called rutuchicoy where family members and neighbors gathered to watch the child’s hair be cut for the first time.


5Schooling Was Surprisingly Not Sexist (Sort Of)


Photo credit: filmmakeriq.com

Inca children between the ages of about eight or nine were taken from their homes to attend different schools. The girls and boys may have had different and separate learning to do, but they were fairly equal in their training.

Boys learned Quechua, the language spoken by the Incas. Meanwhile, the girls learned about brewing beer, Inca religion, cooking, and other special skills they would have to use every day.

Of course, only the prettiest girls were selected to go to these special houses for the aqllakuna, which is the word for these chosen women. The boys were also taught about their religion and history at these four-year schools in Cuzco.

It’s not uncommon for some cultures now to separate their females and males. The Incas seemed to be all about class status. Those pretty aqllakunaeither became priestesses or wives to men in higher stations. The Sapa Inca, who was their leader, had hundreds of wives.

Noble or not, boys had to go to school to become warriors or husbands and trappers. It was common for boys to know how to farm. It should be noted that only the richer families could send their kids to school.

4Changing Clothes Was Important If You Were A Kid


At about age 14, boys changed out of their rags (if they were poor) and wore loincloths to symbolize that they had become men. This is largely because children could marry by the time they were in their teens.

At this age, boys also started putting large plugs in their earlobes. As the years went on, they continued to slowly increase the size of the plug earrings so as to stretch out their ears.

As boys continued to grow into men, they carried around pouches that were like purses. There, they kept cocoa leaves to chew on. The leaves were alsogood luck charms that were held close to their persons.

This shows that the girls were not given as much in terms of accessories or clothing. Nowadays, women are the ones who wear earrings and carry purses. Of course, young women wore dresses longer than the men’s tunics.

Fun fact: The Sapa Inca only wore a new outfit once. Then it was burned. Some nobility (such as the wives and sons of the Sapa Inca) wore clothing more than once but still wore many outfits. The Incas were masters in textiles and clothing, so they had many tunics and dresses along with blankets.

3Kids Wouldn’t Have Normal-Shaped Skulls


Photo credit: blog.viventura.com

From the time that Incas were babies, their parents would wrap their heads to deform them to look like cones. Since younglings have soft skulls, it is easy to transform them into any shape.

It’s believed that the Incas did this out of the belief that the higher the head, the higher the mind and the closer to their gods. In some cultures, this practice is still in use today. It was very common among the Maya and other ancient civilizations.

Archaeologists found holes in some of the Incas’ skulls due to head injuries. Carving out a hole helped with the swelling if the Incas fought each other too violently with clubs. Surprisingly, this was a common practice.

2Kids Were Probably Introduced To Sex And Marriage Too Young


Photo credit: Thomas Quine

The discovery of pots and statues of people in sexual positions shows that the Incas were accepting of all sexual activity. It was a cultural understanding that the Incas would have sex before marriage with their prospective spouses. It was also expected that young Incas would have a few lovers before marriage. Homosexual sex was also depicted on pottery.

Although it may seem that the Incas were more progressive in the areas of marriage and sex than some of today’s cultures, chastity was still expected of those chosen women (aqllakuna) until they were married. Knowing that girls were married between the ages of 12 and 14, this means that most of them must have been sexually active before then.

In fact, the Incas separated genders into three groups without much evidence of discrimination. There were straight men, straight women, and a third gender group that included transgender and homosexual individuals. This group was called Tinkuy. So it was possible to be a young homosexual child without feeling the need to hide from society.

1Marriage Was More Of A Business Trial


Men married at a reasonable age (around 20–25 or in their late teens), but women were often married before ages 14–15. The marriage ceremony was more of a business agreement between the two families. There was a feast, though, and a bit of a celebration. It’s believed that this ceremony was fast and not necessarily happy.

Every year, the leader of each village in the empire would line up all the available boys and girls and pair them off in arranged marriages. If two men wanted to marry the same woman, the parents would have to present reasons to the leader why their son should win her hand. The leader made the final decision, though.

Men of a lower status could only marry one woman. Luckily, the spouses were given a trial period of a few years. If the girl was not happy, she could return home. If the husband wasn’t happy with his wife, he could send her back to her home. It was the custom for the girls to move in with the husband after the husband’s family built them a home.

After studying anthropology at Purdue University along with video production and creative writing, Kate decided to go to LA to earn a graduate degree in writing and producing for television. She strongly believes that everyone can learn a lot from informational television, especially from those programs that focus on history.


10 Bizarre Tales Of The First Emperor Of China’s Quest For Immortality

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10 Bizarre Tales Of The First Emperor Of China’s Quest For Immortality



Qin Shi Huang was a ruler unlike any the world had ever seen. He rose his armies against every kingdom around him and conquered them all. He became the first emperor of a united China, and he left his mark on the world. He started the Great Wall, built the Terracotta Warriors, and left behind a legacy unlike any before.

No one had ever taken as much from life as Qin Shi Huang —and the thought of losing it terrified him. No matter how many armies he conquered, the specter of death still followed after him. He saw, ever in wait, the inescapability of his own mortality. He refused to accept it. After conquering China, the first Emperor waged a new war against death itself.


10He Had All Scholars Focus on Making an Elixir of Immortality


Qin Shi Huang feared that the people would rebel against him. If they learned about the past, he believed, they might long for a different time—and so he had every book of history, poetry, and philosophy gathered up and burned.

Some believe, though, that this was about more than controlling the people. Qin Shi Huang wanted every wise mind in China working on one thing: thesecret of immortality. After all, he could not have strong minds wasting time on poetry when they could be helping him cheat death.

He had several alchemists put to work developing the elixir of immortality, but that, of course, was an impossible task. When two alchemists admitted they could not do it, Qin Shi Huang became furious. Every intellectual, he ordered, must suffer.

For failing to make him immortal, Qin Shi Huang had 460 scholars buried alive. These men, Qin Shi Huang declared, claimed to be sorcerers. If they really had magic powers, then they could bring themselves back to life.

9He Sent 6000 Virgins off to Find the Mountains of Heaven


As his scholars had failed him, Qin Shi Huang traveled to Zhifu Island, where he had heard that a man could find the secret to eternal life. There he met the magician Xu Fu, who assured him that it could be done.

Xu Fu promised him that the elixir of immortality was waiting for him on Penglai Mountain. This was not a real place—it was the mythical home of the Eight Immortals, and a pathway to the gods. Here, Xu Fu told the emperor, lived a 1,000-year-old magician named Anqi Sheng who would share the secret.

Qin Shi Huang was pleased. He gave Xu Fu a fleet of ships and let him sail out in search of the elixir of immortality. And, soon, Xu Fu returned, insisting that he had found it. The island of the immortals, Xu Fu said, was full of grass that would give the emperor eternal life—but the immortals demanded a sacrifice. He needed to bring 6,000 virgins to get the elixir.

Qin Shi Huang believed him, and he gave him what he needed. For the next eight years, Xu Fu did not go anywhere near the emperor—he just sailed around the sea with 6,000 virgins, while Qin Shi Huang patiently awaited an elixir that would never come.

As mystical as the story sounds, there is evidence that suggests it is true. On Zhifu Island, Qin Shi Huang etched the words, “Arrive at Fu and carved the stone”—an engraving that is still there today.


8He Forbid Anyone from Using First-Person Pronouns


Qin Shi Huang was convinced that he was going to become an immortal god. He even labeled himself one. After uniting China, he threw away the old title of “king” and took a new one: “huangdi.” It is a word we usually translate to “emperor,” but that is not quite accurate—it really means “god.”

He also made it law that, from now on, no one could use the first-person pronoun “zhen.” Now that all kings had bowed down before him, he declared, no one else could refer to themselves with a term that conferred respect. From now on, every Chinese citizen would have to refer to themselves with the word “wo,” a word that, at the time, meant, “this worthless body.”

After Xu Fu had promised him immortality, though, even Qin Shi Huang stopped using the word “zhen.” Now, he declared, he must be called “The True Man”—a title that told the world that he had become immortal.

7He Made Decoys Ride in His Carriage


To become immortal, though, Qin Shi Huang would have to stay alive until Xu Fu came back. This was not a sure thing. There had already been many attempts on his life, and he had made many enemies on the path to becoming emperor. He lived in fear of his own death at every moment—and so, when he traveled, he started putting a decoy in his royal carriage.

It ended up saving his life. A man named Zhang Liang was plotting his death. Zhang Liang was a man destined to become the chancellor to the Han king until Qin Shi Huang conquered the Han kingdom and reduced its nobles to nothing. Zhang Liang wanted revenge.

He teamed up with China’s strongest man, Gan Ba, who dragged a 160 lb (72.5 kg) hammer up to the top of a hill and waited for Qin Shi Huang to pass by. When the royal carriages came close, Gan Ba hurled the massive hammer at the royal carriage. The massive iron weight shattered it into pieces andkilled everyone inside.

Qin Shi Huang, though, wasn’t inside. He was behind it, in an undecorated carriage that looked to be made for a commoner. His guards rushed into action, but Gan Ba tackled them head on, giving up his own life so that Zhang Liang could escape.

6He Travelled through a System of Tunnels to Avoid Going Outside


In his later years, Qin Shi Huang stopped going outside altogether. Unless it was absolutely necessary, he would no longer risk stepping out into the open air. Instead, he had a system of tunnels and underground pathways set up athis castle to make sure he never had to go outside.

He lived in a massive complex that was more than a third of a mile long—in its time, one of the biggest in the world. It held a massive palace surrounded by ten buildings, connected through walkways. These were majestic, heavenly things. One was an elevated walkway that crossed over a river, designed to look like the Milky Way shining in the sky.

In part, he was afraid of assassins, but it was more than that. Death itself was outside waiting for him, Qin Shi Huang believed. He stayed inside of his castles and his tunnels so that he could not be seen by the dark spirits that were searching for him.


5A Meteor Fell to the Earth Prophesising His Death


One year before the emperor died, a meteor fell to the earth. On its own, this could have been seen as an omen, but this was more than just a rock. On the rock that fell from the sky were inscribed the words: “The First August Emperor will die and his land will be divided.”

The Emperor was a superstitious man, but even he did not think the message was really engraved by the gods. He was sure that somebody had carved the rock after it landed, and he wanted to know who. He demanded that the person responsible confess, or everyone would pay.

When no one came forward, he had ever single person who lived near the place where the meteor landed rounded up, thrown in prison, and executed. He even had his men get the meteor itself and destroy it in a fire.

Even then, though, it still bothered him. Reportedly, after giving the order to kill every person there, he called in his musicians and had them play him songs about his immortality.

4He Fought a Sea Monster for Immortality


After the meteor landed, Qin Shi Huang grew impatient. He sailed off to Zhifu Island once more to find Xu Fu, the magician who had promised him an elixir of immortality.

Xu Fu assured him that he had found Penglai Mountain. Now, though, the path was blocked by a great sea monster, and he had no way to get through. This time, though, Qin Shi Huang would not wait around any longer. He would get a team of archers, he told Xu Fu, and kill the sea monster. This time, Xu Fu was not going to be trusted to go alone. The emperor was coming with them.

Qin Shi Huang and his team of archers sailed into the water, where the found a massive fish they believed to be a sea monster—which, today, is believed to have been a whale. The archers opened fire and killed it. When it was done, Qin Shi Huang returned to Zhifu Island and left a message that is still there today: “Came to Fu, saw enormous stone, and shot a fish.”

Xu Fu didn’t have any excuses left. He was to get the elixir from the immortals, Qin Shi Huang ordered, and return immediately, or else he would face the consequences.

Xu Fu assured the emperor he would do it. Then he gathered up his 6,000 virgins, put them in his ships, and sailed off—and never came back. With no way to keep the act up, he fled to Japan and spent the rest of his life in hiding.

3He Poisoned Himself with Mercury

1chinese medicine

Xu Fu never delivered the elixir of immortality, but Qin Shi Huang did not give up. He had his alchemists make him every medicine they could to keep him healthy and alive, and he drank everything they told him would work—including a bottle full of mercury.

Qin Shi Huang was making a tour around his kingdom when the mercury killed him. He had brought a vial of it with him, which his court doctors had assured him was an “immortal medicine.” Instead, though, it cut his life short,killing him when he was only 49 years old.

Qin Shi Huang was a two-month journey away from home, and his chancellors were afraid about what might happen when the people found out he was dead. His advisor, Li Si, was determined to hide that the emperor had died. For the next few months, he pretended Qin Shi Huang was still alive, sending out orders of his own that he claimed came from the emperor.

Meanwhile, the immortal emperor’s dead body was sent home, flanked by carts full of rotting fish to hide the smell of his decaying remains.

2He Tried to Become The God-Ruler Of Hell


If Qin Shi Huang could not be immortal, he was not going to accept being a peasant in hell. He was determined to become the ruler of the afterlife, and he got ready for it.

Before he even became the emperor, he had started work on his tomb. By the time he died, he had forced 700,000 enslaved laborers to work on it. His tomb was incredible. It had replicas of his palaces and towers, flowing rivers of mercury, and a ceiling full of jewels that recreate the night sky.

And it had the Terracotta Warriors. Qin Shi Huang believed that, when he died, the six states he had defeated would rise up against him in the afterlife. And so he had his army remade out of terracotta to protect him in hell and help him conquer the world of the dead.

Traps were set up to keep anyone from getting in and disturbing the emperor’s resting place. The tomb was buried and seeded with grass and trees to keep anyone from ever finding it. And, to make sure that no one would ever find it, the workers who made it were forced to seal themselves in and die with the emperor inside his tomb.

1He Did Not Choose a Successor


Qin Shi Huang had not planned on dying. He did not even like to think about it—and so he never sat down and wrote a will. He was determined, after all, tolive forever, and so he saw no need.

With no will, it was not clear who was to take the throne, and the nation soon erupted into chaos. His eldest son Fusu was the obvious choice, but Qin Shi Huang’s advisor, Li Si, did not trust him. To keep Fusu out, Li Si forged a fake order declaring the second son, Huhai, the new emperor. Then he forged another, ordering Fusu to commit suicide.

The boys obeyed the orders they believed came from their father, and Huhai became the second emperor of China. His reign did not last long. Li Si and his co-conspirators soon turned against each other, and one had Li Si arrested and executed.

Li Si’s death was horrible. His nose, hands, feet, and genitals were chopped off, one-by-one, before he was finally cut in half down the waist. Then every member of his extended family, down to the third generation, was executed. Without Li Si, Huhai was unable to stop his people from rebelling, and he was soon overthrown.

In life, Qin Shi Huang had insisted that his dynasty would rule over China for 10,000 generations—but, after his death, it did not even last three years.

10 Lethal American Highwaymen History Forgot About

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10 Lethal American Highwaymen History Forgot About



Highwaymen were the pirates of the land, robbing travelers along public roads leaving a path of terror in their wake. The following ten tales focus specifically on American highwaymen whose monstrous and murderous deeds throughout history have, until now, seamlessly faded from present day literature.


10The Doan Brothers


Between 1781 and 1788, the Doan brothers terrorized eastern Pennsylvania with a string of robberies, shootouts, and jailbreaks in what many historians claim was the result of retribution. Prior to their criminal ways, the brothers were Quakers until the Patriots confiscated their father’s land during the American Revolutionary War. In retaliation, the siblings began a life of debauchery and crime, ultimately forming a gang consisting of at least thirty men.

One of the gang’s biggest heists was the Newtown Treasury in which they made off with £1,307. None of the money was ever recovered. Unfortunately for the Doan brothers, their years of luck would soon run out. The oldest sibling, Moses, was shot and killed by authorities, while Levi Doan and Cousin Abraham were hanged in Philadelphia. The three remaining brothers managed to escape; Mahon is theorized to have sailed to England following his break-out from a Baltimore jail while Aaron and Joseph headed north to Canada.

9Ben Kuhl


The last horse drawn stage robbery in the United States was on December 5, 1916, outside Jarbidge, Nevada. Fred Searcy, the driver of the first-class mail stage, was found shot in the back of the head with the culprits fleeing with $4,000 in gold coins.

Police later discovered, in the vicinity of the crime, a discarded black overcoat and a bloody envelope. The coat was recognized by townspeople to have belonged to Ben Kuhl, a troubled drifter with a lengthy rap sheet. Kuhl was tracked down and arrested along with three of his friends, one of whom would testify against him. In addition to countless testimony from several witnesses, the most damaging piece of evidence was the envelope containing the bloody palm print. For the first time in American history, palm prints were entered into court evidence, and this led to the Kuhl’s conviction and sentence of death.

After his death sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment, Kuhl was released at the age of 61 in April 1943. He would die of tuberculosis only one year later.


8Joseph Thompson Hare


In 1790, Joseph Hare traveled from Pennsylvania to New Orleans upon where he befriended three men who shared the same conniving and murderous ways as he. On the men’s voyage back north, the four robbed and murdered countless peddlers and farmers while disguising themselves in a horrific fashion; smearing their faces with dark berries, allowing for a bloody and grotesque appearance guaranteed to cast fear. Throughout their coarse journey, they would encounter and trade with Indians, as well as obtain counterfeit passports for which they would be jailed by the Spaniards as American spies.
Following their early release, Hare began experiencing ghostly hallucinationson the wooded trails of the country, at one point witnessing a “magnificent white horse.” The apparition stopped Hare in his tracks long enough—following a recent crime in which he was in pursuit by a vigilante posse—that he was captured and spent the next five years in prison. Following his release, Hare declared himself a changed man. Despite his newfound sense of self, he was arrested the following year for the robbery of a Baltimore night mail coach. For this crime, Hare was hanged in front of a crowd of 1,500 people on September 10, 1818.

7Michael Martin


In Ireland 1816, 20-year-old Michael Martin was offered a “partnership” by a man he met at a tavern who went by the name, Captain Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt saw potential in Martin who was an exceptionally fast runner, thus, dubbed him “Captain Lightfoot”. Armed with brass pistols, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot began robbing wealthy highway travelers, never once stealing from women or the poor. Their chivalrous thievery brought the two all over Ireland, Scotland, and England until the day Martin made the journey to the United States, never again seeing his mentor Captain Thunderbolt. In America, Martin began his old ways by robbing unsuspecting people as he traveled throughout the East Coast.

Martin’s last highway victims were a Boston dignitary Major Bray and his wife. Following the robbery of $12, Martin made off into the night but was soon captured by authorities. While in prison, Martin viciously attacked a jailor which allowed him to escape and flee to the countryside. He was eventually recaptured in Springfield, and in 1821 he became the first and last person to be hanged in Massachusetts for highway robbery.

6James Ford


For a man who served respectable offices—Tennessee delegate, county Sheriff, justice of the peace, Captain of the Livingston County Cavalry, and overseer of the poor—James Ford was the epitome of service to his respected communities, yet what lay underneath the facade was a dark andsinister man.

Of the many talents Ford possessed, he was a well-skilled ferry operator who worked the streams of the infamous Cave-in-Rock waters. Ford, who has been described as “Satan’s Ferryman,” was nothing more than a skilled counterfeiter turned murderous river pirate known for creating the “Ford’s Ferry Gang”; a cast of degenerates who preyed on travelers passing through the vicinity.

Ford’s gang of hoodlums would ravage and murder the region for the better part of the 1820s until their reign of terror came to a sudden and unforeseen halt. In 1833, a mob of unknown vigilantes took the law into their own hands and assassinated the gang leader bringing to an end a decade of violence and death.


5The Potts Inn


Even after the death of James Ford, lawlessness continued along the Ford’s Ferry High Water Road, only now the unsuspecting victims would first be made to feel right at home. Potts Springs was the location of Potts Inn, aquaint residence where travelers seeking food and lodging could lay their heads for the night.

The Inn was owned and operated by none other than husband and wife, Isaiah and Polly Potts who primarily catered to ferry goers. Whether renting a room for the night or merely stopping by the Inn’s tavern while passing through, the Potts would murder their guests and bury their remains in a shallow grave. In fact, one did not even have to be a guest of the murderous couple to fall prey, given that many travelers were killed along the route leading to the Inn. It is said that the Potts’ long lost son, Billy, was lured to the tavern and murdered, all the while both parties never recognizing one another.

4David Lewis


Soon after enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, David Lewis became a deserter. Escaping the death sentence bestowed by the Military Court, Lewis broke from the shackles of the ball and chain. He would soon make his way to Vermont where he embarked on a new trade, counterfeiting.

Following his second imprisonment, Lewis escaped with the help of his future bride, Melinda. After relocating his operations out of the Doubling Gap Hotel, Lewis focused his sights on the city’s elite, robbing those he assumed would bring in the highest amount. After a profitable succession of robbing the wagons of wealthy travelers, the “Robin Hood of Pennsylvania” was in due course wounded and captured. In the end, gangrene infested his woundsand he died in jail in 1820.

3Henry Plummer


In 1856, Henry Plummer was elected sheriff of Nevada City, California and served two terms before he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mistress’ husband. Having served only six months in San Quentin before being pardoned by the governor, Plummer returned to Nevada City, this time he was elected to Assistant Marshal. Avoiding prosecution for killing a man in a whorehouse brawl, Plummer fled in 1861, ultimately settling in Idaho where he took up with a gang of highwaymen.

Due to his influence, the gang became known as “The Innocence” who robbed and murdered travailing miners. In 1863, “The Innocence” followed Plummer to Bannack, Montana, where he was elected sheriff. While in office, Plummer ran an effective and deadly criminal ring, providing his henchmen with the routes of gold shipments, as well as their protection, all the while the gang ran rampant in Bannack without the fear of ramification. After the robbery and murder of more than 100 locals, a team of nearly 2,000 settlers turned vigilantes captured and hanged a weeping Plummer and two of his men on the same gallows the crooked sheriff had prepared for another.

2Samuel Mason


The infamous shelter for roaming highwaymen, Cave-in-Rock, became a temporary respite for Samuel Mason in 1797. The Ohio River, situated on the Illinois-Kentucky border, was the site of Mason’s criminal headquarters. He murdered all who trespassed through his waters. Mason’s river piracies involved setting up a sign near the cave that read “Liquor Vault and House of Entertainment,” leading many unsuspecting victims into a deathtrap.

Once aground, any and all were murdered by Mason’s heinous band of criminals, in addition to the countless who were attracted to shore due to the beautiful “stranded” women hired by Mason. The bodies of the dead were gutted and filled and with rocks so they would sink to the bottom of the river, while all valuables were sold in New Orleans.

After Mason and his accomplices were detained by Spanish authorities in 1803, they escaped en route to Tennessee after murdering the commander overseeing their transport to American territory. Because of this, the bounty on Mason’s head substantially increased, leading one of his gang affiliates to take note. In July 1803, Mason’s head was cut off by his trusted criminal associate, Little Harpe, who brought it back to Mississippi to claim the reward.

1The Harpe Brothers


The Harpe Brothers are often referred to as America’s first true serial killers. Regardless of the assessments factuality, Micajah (“Big Harpe”) and Wiley (“Little Harpe”) left an endless trail of mutilated corpses throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, casting fear in the hearts of frontier families. They murdered not for financial gain, but for the love of the sport. Their lust for death proved even too much for fellow outlaws to bear, casting the brothers out of the Cave-in-Rock territory. Nevertheless, they continued their murderous spree of torture and disembowelment, with no discrimination pertaining to age, gender, or race. No one was spared. Their victim count is estimated to be between 25 to 50, although the actual number has never been known.

Big Harpe met his end from the blade of a tomahawk in July 1799. Subsequently, he was decapitated, and his head was fixed to a tree where it remained for ten years. Little Harpe escaped authorities and later joined the forces of Samuel Mason’s gang. After beheading Mason, Little Harpe strolled into town with the intention to claim his rightful reward only to be immediately recognized by officials. Consequently, Little Harpe was arrested and hanged in 1804.

Adam is just a hubcap trying to hold on in the fast lane.

10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide

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10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide



2015 marked the hundredth year since the Armenian Genocide began, where it is approximated that 1.5 million of the two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire lost their lives. The Ottoman Empire’s meticulous cover-up of events, as well as the overwhelming scale of their systematic barbarism, means that the real number will never be known and greatly fluctuates from source to source. Such is the nature of genocide, that the perpetrators wish to eradicate any record of the victimized. From the sources that have survived, we have compiled the following ten disturbing facts about the Armenian Genocide.


10The Three Pashas Led the Ottoman Empire into War and Enacted the Genocide


The Three Pashas is the collective name given to Talât Pasha, Grand Vizier (the equivalent of Prime Minister); Enver Pasha, Minister of War; and Djemal Pasha, Minister of the Navy; during World War I.

Talât Pasha’s hatred towards Armenians was longstanding. In his memoirs, Danish philologist Johannes Østrup contends that Talât shared his intent for the complete annihilation of Armenians with him as early as 1910. He quotes Talât as saying, “If I ever come to power in this country, I will use all my might to exterminate the Armenians.”

His wish for power came true in 1913, by way of a coup. The following year, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I, and then a year later began the systematic murder of Armenians.

Following the Empire’s defeat in the war, all three fled the country. The new government vilified them as the reason for the Empire’s debilitating participation in the war, and they sporadically acknowledged the Three Pashas for their overwhelming crimes against humanity.

When referring to the massacres that took place under the Three Pashas’ rule, Abdülmecid II, the last Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Dynasty, is quoted as saying, “They are the greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race.”

9One of Hitler’s Early Co-Conspirators Was a Witness to the Armenian Genocide


Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter was the German vice-consul in Erzerum at the time of the Armenian genocide. He condemned the Ottoman Empire’s practices in his writings as a policy of annihilation.

Upon his return to Germany, however, he became deeply involved with the Nazi movement, developing a close relationship with Hitler. He was shot and instantly killed during the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, marching with his arm linked to Hitler’s. Hitler would go on to dedicate the first part of Mein Kampf to Scheubner-Richter. While records of their conversations are scarce, it is a likely leap that Hitler was well-versed on Scheubner-Richter’s writings and experiences.

On August 22, 1939, Hitler gave a speech at his Obersalzberg home. It was a week before the German invasion of Poland, and he expressed to his Wehrmacht commanders his wish for the total annihilation of the Poles. Louis P. Lochner, who had sources within the Nazi government, claimed he had been given an original transcript of the speech, which he then published in his 1942 book, What About Germany? It quotes Hitler as saying, “I have put my Death’s Head formations in place with the command relentlessly and without compassion to send into death many women and children of Polish origin and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space we need. Who after all is today speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?”

Although it is a matter of content how much of a direct influence the Armenian genocide was on the Holocaust—the similarities are clear, as well as Hitler’s knowledge of the atrocities.


8Able Men Were Put to Death and the Remaining Armenians Were Marched into the Desert


The genocide’s starting date is often cited as April 24, 1915, when up to 270 Armenian community leaders were forcefully removed from Constantinople and moved to Ankara. Predating this, the Ottomans had moved all Armenian people in the army to unarmed labor battalions, to make their eventual extermination easier to enforce.

Once all able-bodied Armenian men of the Ottoman Empire were slain, women, children, the infirm, and the elderly were marched into the desert under the guise of resettlement. In total, up to 1.5 million Armenians died in the genocide. At the start of World War I, two million Armenians were living within the Ottoman Empire, meaning three out of four were killed.

Many Armenians died from starvation and dehydration. Females of all ages were habitually raped and left for dead. Mass shootings, drowning, burning, and poisoning were also common. People who managed to cling to life for the entirety of the death march were then placed in concentration camps, where they were massacred.

7ISIS Is Blamed for Destroying the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor


Construction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church reached completion in November 1990, and it was consecrated on May 4, 1991. The church was an important pilgrimage site for many Armenians. The greatest massing of people happening every year on the 24th of April, to mark the commencement date of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Thousands would visit to pay their respects.

Deir ez-Zor, Syria, is significant because it was the final destination point for the Armenians who marched through the desert. The exact location of the church was once the site of a concentration camp, killing center, and burial place for the Armenians who managed to survive the death march.

The church was <ahref=”https: http://www.armenianow.com=”&#8221; commentary=”” analysis=”” 57070=”” armenia_church_syria_isis_aram_catholicos”=”” target=”_blank”>blown up on September 21, 2014, as Armenia was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its independence, and mere months before the 100th anniversary of the genocide. ISIS have been labeled as the likely culprits.

6The Greek and Assyrian Genocides Happened at the Same Time


The Armenians suffered the most deaths during the Ottoman Empire’s attempts to eradicate Christian minorities, in and around the period of World War I, and thus, the Armenian Genocide is often the focus point of discussion. However, running concurrently with this was the genocide of both the Assyrians and the Greeks.

The Assyrian death count has been estimated to be around 300,000, with the killings largely happening around the Empire’s border with Persia. In the town of Midyat, where 25,000 Assyrians lost their lives, there was a small uprising, which was ultimately squashed by the Empire. For revolutionary acts such as this one, the Ottoman Empire’s murder of Assyrians has been classified by some Turkish historians as a response to rebellion, which can be classified as a massacre but not genocide.

The Greek death count has been estimated to be around 750,000. In 1923, a population exchange happened between Turkey and Greece, effectively ending the bloodshed, where two million people were forcibly removed from their homes. Approximately 1.2 million Christian Greeks were relocated from Trabzon, the Pontic Alps, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Eastern Thrace. In return, around 400,000 Muslims were kicked out of Greece and welcomed into Turkey.


5The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Took Retaliatory Action


Known as Operation Nemesis, between 1920 and 1922, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation assassinated seven prominent Ottoman and Azerbaijani officials responsible for the genocide. Djemal Pasha and Talât Pasha—two-thirds of the group known as the Three Pashas, were killed by the ARF.

Both had fled the invading allies at the end of World War I and were largely blamed as the reason for the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war. They had been sentenced, in their absence, to death through their home country’s legal system. Their state executions would never happen.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation tracked down Djemal Pasha in Tiflis, Soviet Georgia, and shot him dead, along with two aides. Talât Pasha was shot dead by Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin on March 15, 1921. The ARF had told Tehlirian not to flee, in order to increase the visibility of the Armenian people’s suffering with the ensuing trial. It was a successful tactic—the trial attracting much international press coverage.

Tehlirian was acquitted of murder. His defense successfully argued that although he had killed Talât Pasha, the ordeal of the Armenian Genocide had affected his mental state. Tehlirian stated to the judge, “I do not consider myself guilty because my conscience is clear . . . I have killed a man but I am not a murderer.”

4The Three Pashas Used World War I as a Smokescreen for Genocide


It was key to the Three Pashas that acts of genocide should be carried out hurriedly while the fog of war was still in play. By doing so, foreign hands would be tied up with other pressing issues and would have no time to sort out any humanitarian crises.

They were even known to brag of their actions. Talât Pasha is quoted as saying to a German embassy representative, who brought up the genocide, “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e. the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

Although the majority of atrocities took place during the war years, an official end-date is a matter of semantic contention, with some arguing it to be as late as 1923—five years after the Three Pashas fled the country following their defeat in World War I.

3Turkey Has Streets and Public Buildings Named after the Perpetrators of the Genocide


The denial of the genocide has been so successful that many Ottoman politicians who helped with the liquidation process are remembered favorably in parts of Turkey. The Three Pashas themselves lend their names to boulevards, avenues, highways, and municipal districts. They also have schools named after them.

In 2003, Cemal Azmi, also known as the “Butcher of Trabzon” had a school named after him, too. It is documented that he was particularly cruel to children, who he would drown by the thousands. A method often employed was to send boats out into the Black Sea and capsize them.

Young girls regularly met a worse fate. During the Trabzon trials in 1919, an eyewitness stated that Azmi would have orgies with Armenian girls in a hospital that he transformed into his own personal “pleasure dome”, after which the girls would all be killed.

Azmi is one of the seven notable leaders assassinated by the ARF as part of Operation Nemesis.

2Armenians Have Not Received Reparations


The Ottomans seized the money and possessions of the Armenians. However, to this day, nothing that belonged to an Armenian before the genocide has been returned to its rightful owner. The widespread destruction and emotional duress have never been compensated for in any form, either.

Much of the argument against reparations stems from the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, meaning the offending power no longer exists to be held accountable. In its place is Turkey, and those who favor Armenian reparations believe that Turkey is thus responsible for repaying the debts incurred by the Ottoman Empire. After all, all land and property that the Ottomans stole is now Turkish land and property.

There is a precedent in place with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, who have received, on occasion, forms of compensation for the genocide they suffered. Thus, another, often argued, potential reason for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide emerges—if there was no genocide, then survivors do not have to be legally treated in the same way as survivors of other genocides.

1Turkey Still Deny That a Genocide Ever Happened


Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, has always denied that what began in 1915 was a systematic genocide of Armenians. Azerbaijan is the only other country whose government actively deny it was genocide.Many countries refuse to make a conclusive statement one way or the other.

Turkish governments have been accused of actively attempting to suppress usage of the term “genocide,” advising prominent politicians, journalists, and scholars, from around the globe, to adopt a policy of reduction or silence.

This denial of the term “genocide” becomes painfully ironic when considering that the word was first used by Raphael Lemkin in his 1943 book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, to give a name to these specific atrocities and those of the Nazis. He defined genocide as, “A coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” So, with this in mind, these atrocities are pretty much the textbook definition of genocide.

David is a freelance writer and Creative Writing MA student. You can read more of his articles at CultureRoast // Follow him // Like him.

10 Unexplained Mysteries Of Ancient Venice

Post 8273

10 Unexplained Mysteries Of Ancient Venice



Venice, often known as “the floating city,” was founded in the fifth century AD. Built after the fall of the Roman Empire, the city became the merchant capital of the world.

Venice is completely surrounded by water. People use boats as the main form of transport as the city is made up of many small islands. Everywhere you look, there are breathtaking buildings. But you have to look closer to uncover the ancient secrets that are etched into the walls and foundations of the floating city.

Venice is notorious for its masked balls and elegant parades but less known for the mysteries, legends, and inexplicable events that have taken place there. These mysteries and legends are unsolved to this day and may never find a suitable conclusion.


10The Ghost Of Palazzo Grassi


Photo credit: Didier Descouens

Along Venice’s Grand Canal lie a number of large palaces, including the Palazzo Grassi. Many say that the palace is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who threw herself (or perhaps was thrown) from the balcony after being beaten. Some inhabitants of the palace say that they have heard someonecalling them by name or whispering inaudible words in their ear.

Throughout the restoration of the building in the 1980s, something extremely peculiar happened. A watchman was walking through the halls when he heard a voice calling him and telling him to stop.

The man could not find any evidence that anyone else had been near him. But he did notice that he had heard the voice just over 0.3 meters (1 ft) away from a hole left in the floor by the workers. If not for the voice, he would have likely died.

9Attila’s Throne


Photo credit: venetoinside.com

On the Venetian island of Torcello sits a stone chair, believed to be the throne of Attila, the king of the Huns. During their invasion of Venice in the fifth century, the Huns arrived on Torcello, killing a large number of the inhabitants. Attila had the throne placed in front of the cathedral as a symbol of power and to display his allegiance to God.

Whether the throne actually belonged to Attila is still a mystery as many reports claim that the Huns never made it past Northeast Italy. However, the throne certainly belonged to someone in a position of power. Many ancient scripts contain diagrams of the throne and a figure sitting prominently in it.


8The Statue Of The Woman Who Saw Death


Photo credit: venetoinside.com

In the Castello District in Venice, a church was built by Jacopo Tiepolo near the end of the 1200s. Considered to be the most recognized church in Venice, it has become the final resting place of many famous Venetians.

Attached to the church is an incredible legend that centers around the sculpture of a sad-looking woman. According to the legend, the beautiful woman looked in the mirror one day to see a haggard old lady near her death. She realized that it was her fate and died instantly from shock.

This remains an ancient Venetian mystery as no one has been able to confirm the origin of the statue.

7The Ghost Of Marco Polo’s Wife


Photo credit: Gegetti

During his stay in China, the well-known Venetian merchant Marco Polo fell in love with the daughter of a great emperor and married her. He took her back to Venice with him. However, she never felt at home in the city.

When Marco Polo was captured in battle, his sisters-in-law told his wife that he was dead. She could not cope with the grief and threw herself into the canal. People say that they have witnessed her ghost while walking past the site of Polo’s house at night.

While excavating the foundations of the Malibran Theater (on the site of the old house), the remains of an Asian woman were found, buried with items of Chinese origin. It is still unclear whether this was Polo’s wife.

6The Witch’s Alarm Clock


Photo credit: venetoworld.com

Near the Accademia Museum in the Dorsoduro District, there is something rather odd on the side of an old building. It is nothing but a centuries-old alarm clock. This has raised hundreds of theories as to why it is there, but not one has been agreed on.

The legend goes that an old witch used the clock to mark the time that invoices were due. When she died, no one wanted to live in the house due to their fear of the witch. A nearby merchant asked some workers to put an old alarm clock on the supposedly haunted building as a joke.

When the clock was taken down a few years later, strange things started happening, such as visions and strange sounds during the night. As soon as the clock was put back up, everything went back to normal.

Years later, the clock was taken down again. The odd happenings resumed, including unexplained disappearances of objects and accidents happening around the site. The clock was once again replaced, and these strange events ceased.

The clock was never taken down again. Now it can be found on the side of a house on the Calle della Toletta street in Venice.


5The Sirens Of The Venice Lagoon


The island of Burano in Venice is made up of small, colorful houses and sandy canal banks. It is a beautiful part of Venice and holds the legend of the Sirens.

According to legend, a man was fishing in the canals when he was approached by a group of Sirens who tried to seduce him. However, he was so in love with his soon-to-be bride that he refused them. Impressed by this, the Sirens gave him a gift of beautiful lace that he gave to his wife on their wedding day.

The wife is said to have remade the lace multiple times, ultimately creating the famous Venice lace that we know today. If the story is true and the man was really visited by Sirens, is it possible that they still swim the waters of Venice, preying on young men to seduce? We may never know.

4Freemasons In Venice


Photo credit: Godromil

In the middle of the 18th century, Venice was a huge hub for Freemasonry. The members included many famous people such as the great explorer Giacomo Casanova. The Freemason fraternity was so rich and powerful that they built a church following their beliefs. This was the church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cannaregio.

A symbol of a pyramid with an eye in the center is etched above the door of the church. Beneath the symbol is the inscription: SAPIENTIA EDIFICAVIT SIBI DOMUM. This is a reference to the cult of divine knowledge, the base of Freemason ideologies.

Many Freemasons are buried inside the church. All their tombs are inscribed with the compass and line symbol of the Masons, defining themselves as builders.

At some point, the Freemasons vanished from Venice and no longer ruled over the people there. No one knows what happened to the Freemasons or why they disappeared from Venice. It will likely remain a mystery forever.

3The Casino Of The Spirits


Photo credit: venetoinside.com

This casino resides along the Fondamenta Gasparo Contarini canal in Cannaregio. It belonged to famous cardinal and patron Joseph Contarini in the 16th century.

The Casino of the Spirits got its name because it is known as a gathering place for the restless spirits of the city. A famous ghost often appears in the rooms of the building at night while many visitors are there. It is thought to be the ghost of the famous painter Luzzo because he committed suicide in the building.

The building is extremely isolated, and the sea emits an eerie sound at night. The casino is now used as an institute for two religious groups, but the garden is still open to visitors.

A frightening tale is often told about the site. On a dark night, if you listen closely, you can hear the screams of a man in another room for a number of minutes. Then the screams die down, and all that can be heard is the sound of the sea against the side of the canal.

2The Devil’s Bridge


Photo credit: mikestravelguide.com

On the remote Venetian island of Torcello is a stone bridge that crosses a canal. It has come to bear an odd name, “The Devil’s Bridge.”

It is thought that a young lady fell in love with an Austrian soldier during the Austrian reign in Venice. He was killed by her family as they did not approve of the relationship.

The girl was so struck with grief that she got help from a witch. They met on the bridge, and the witch brought the soldier back to life. In return, every Christmas Eve for seven years, the young girl had to bring the witch a baby who had recently died. It is said that the Devil himself comes to the bridge every Christmas Eve looking for the souls of deceased babies.

This is a mystery because a number of people believed that they saw aghostly apparition gliding back and forth on the bridge on Christmas Eve in the late 1990s.

1The Mask To Scare The Devil


Photo credit: Milazzi

Most churches in Venice have a bell tower on the side. When the bell was rung, it signified the beginning or the end of the working day.

Often at an angle, a face was sculpted in the doors of these bell towers. But sometimes, more grotesque beings were used to “ward off the Devil” who wanted to enter and ring the bell.

The most grotesque mask is at the church of Santa Maria Formosa Castello. The tower is over 40 meters (130 ft) high and was reconstructed in 1678. The face was designed by priest Federico Zucconi and was very famous at the time of its construction.

A series of mysteries surround the mask. Some say that it howls at nightwhen the Devil is getting near. Others say that it was once a demon that was turned to stone and molded into the side of the church to scare away other passing demons. Many locals have said that they have seen the eyes of the mask turning, but that is possibly the effect of late-night Venetian wine.

I’m Joe, a lover of knowledge and the unexplained. I am the author of the popular truck driver stories on Reddit’s r/nosleep. My priority is to deliver quality content in my writing and keep the reader interested. There is nothing worse than reading a boring article.

10 Suffocating Tales Of People Trapped Underwater

Post 8272

10 Suffocating Tales Of People Trapped Underwater



People are accustomed to water, and why not? It covers most of the planet, it makes up most of our bodies, we need it to live, we recreate in it, and plenty of us travel over it. Water’s ubiquity aside, total immersion in it can certainly be deadly. Some people who have found themselves trapped underwater have survived. Others exhaled their last breath encapsulated in cold, darkness, and terror.


10Edward Young


On July 19, 1941, the HMS Umpire, a brand-new British U-class submarine, departed Sheerness for sea trials. The Umpire was sailing along the surface when she collided with a trawler, which could not see the submarine in the early morning darkness. The submarine’s commander and three others were outside on the bridge during the collision and were left to tread water. TheUmpire sank quickly, trapping the rest of the crew on the seabed, 18 meters (60 ft) down.

Water begin to rapidly flood the sub. Edward Young, a junior officer on theUmpire, later recalled, “In the half-darkness the men had become anonymous groping figures, desperately coming and going.” Young came across a man trying to open a watertight door, saying, “My pal’s in there.” Young could only tell the man that it was hopeless. “There’s no one left alive on the other side of that door.”

Young waded to the wardroom in search of torches. After finding only one working torch, he returned to the control room, only to find it empty and the door to the engine room sealed. He could hear only the sound of water on the other side.

Ultimately, Young and four others climbed up the conning tower to attempt escape. That was not as simple as throwing open the hatch, however. They had to flood the conning tower first to equalize the water pressure, meaning that they had to take their last breath even before filing out of the hatch one by one and swimming for the surface through the dark water. Two of the four men did not survive the ascent.

The sinking of the Umpire claimed 22 lives, with Young and 14 others surviving. Young eventually became a distinguished submarine commander himself.

9The Koosha-1


In October 2011, an Iranian ship called the Koosha-1 was helping to install an underwater oil pipeline in the Persian Gulf, roughly 24 kilometers (15 mi) out from Assaluyeh. On October 20, the ship capsized in bad weather and sank so fast that no distress signal could be sent. Six people drowned in the sinking, but rescuers still managed to save 60 others.

However, bolted to the Koosha-1 was a hyperbaric recompression chamber, which held six divers when the ship went down. The chamber was pressurized to 60 meters (200 ft) at the time of the sinking, but the Koosha-1 came to rest on the sea floor 72 meters (236 ft) down, causing rescuers to fear that the chamber’s seals may have ruptured. Rescue efforts were further hampered by continuing bad weather, with winds reaching 30 knots.

Finally, on October 23, the six divers were confirmed dead, after having run out of air. It is believed that they had enough air to last for two days at the bottom of the Gulf.


8Blizzard River


You do not necessarily have to be out in the open ocean to suddenly and unexpectedly become trapped underwater. Such was the case in Agawam, Massachusetts, on August 7, 1999, at the Riverside Amusement Park (since redubbed Six Flags New England). At around 9:30 p.m., a raft on the park’s “Blizzard River” ride suddenly capsized. Eight belted-in passengers were left trapped facedown in a mere 0.8 meters (2.5 ft) of water.

That was all it took. While park employees did manage to get some of the riders out before rescuers showed up, the riders (including at least two young children and a pregnant woman) nearly drowned, and several were left hospitalized in critical condition. One rider suffered a brain injury, and another was left with “permanent physical injuries.”

In 2001, the eight riders sued the park owners and the manufacturers of the ride. The plaintiffs argued that the defendants should have known of the risk, since a woman died in a similar incident in Texas earlier in 1999. Also, the park employees seated the three heaviest passengers all on one side of the raft, only exacerbating the risk.

7Chao Phraya River Ferry


On September 18, 2016, a ferry carrying over 100 people was traveling along the Chao Phraya River in Thailand. The passengers were primarily Muslim pilgrims returning to Nonthaburi Province after having attended a ceremony in Ayutthaya.

Not far into the journey, the ferry turned to avoid another boat, which caused it to crash into a concrete bridge pillar. The lower deck of the two-level vessel ended up submerged. A chaotic scene ensued. Rescuers threw ropes to passengers swimming to shore, while others desperately tried to resuscitate victims pulled onto the riverbank. In the end, 27 people died, and roughly 40 others were injured. It took two days to pull most of the bodies out of the wreck.

Thailand is known for a high rate of public transportation accidents, as safety regulations are barely enforced. In this case, the captain of the ferry was charged with reckless driving resulting in death.

6Patrick Peacock and Chris Rittenmeyer


Cave diving is a dangerous hobby, not meant for novice scuba divers. Diving in Eagle’s Nest, near Tampa, Florida, is even more so. Divers descend from what looks like an unassuming pond down to a network of 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) of passages, some as deep as 90 meters (300 ft) from the surface. “The Mt. Everest of cave diving” has claimed lives in the past.

Patrick Peacock and Chris Rittenmeyer, two experienced cave divers, submerged into Eagle’s Nest on October 15, 2016. They had dived there the previous day without incident. The men knew the dangers, and when they dove into the cave at around 2:00 p.m., a safety diver named Justin Blakely waited closer to the surface for them. Peacock and Rittenmeyer were due to meet back up with Blakely at 3:00 p.m.

The two did not show. Blakely checked back at the meeting location every 30 minutes until 6:00 p.m. when he called for help. Rescue divers were unable to find Peacock and Rittenmeyer that evening.

A team of divers finally found the two men’s bodies near each other the next day, 79 meters (260 ft) down in an exceptionally dangerous part of the cave. Peacock and Rittenmeyer are the ninth and tenth people to die in Eagle’s Nest since 1981.


5Twin Caves Rescue


Sometimes, cave diving mishaps do have happy endings. Such an ending occurred in another underwater cave in Florida, Twin Caves, in the summer of 2012. A father and his college-aged son and daughter decided to dive into the cave. The father was an open water scuba diving instructor, but none of the three were certified for cave diving.

A group of cave divers exiting Twin Caves, as the open water trio entered, recounted how their open water style kicking disturbed lots of silt in the already generally silty cave. With visibility fast deteriorating, the cave divers quickly made sure their own lines were secure. Before long, the son bumped into one of them and was guided to the surface. The father soon emerged, but the daughter did not. The cave divers called for rescue.

Fortunately, nearby was Edd Sorenson, an expert cave diver and rescuer, who right then was teaching a cave diving class. He ended his class and rushed to Twin Caves with his gear. There, he found “an 18-meter (60 ft) circle of mud where Twin was supposed to be.”

Wasting no time, Sorenson secured his line and began a zigzag search in zero visibility. He soon found the daughter, her face barely above water in a small air pocket on the cave ceiling. She had left the pocket several times to try to surface, but she could not see a thing. Sorenson guided her out.

Before 2012, only four lost cave divers had been successfully rescued, until Sorenson saved four people in that year alone.

4The AS-28


In another happy ending, seven Russian sailors managed to survive beingtrapped underwater for three days.

In August 2005, the AS-28, a Priz-class mini-submarine, itself meant for rescue missions, was submerged roughly 70 kilometers (40 mi) south of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital city of the Kamchatka Peninsula. An undersea surveillance antenna snagged the sub, and bits of fishing net became stuck in its propellers, stranding it 190 meters (623 ft) below the surface. Russian rescue attempts failed.

Despite the AS-28 being stranded in a militarily sensitive region which includes the entrance to a submarine base, Russia was willing to appeal to other countries for help. Ultimately, a British submersible robot descended and cut the AS-28 free with its blades, allowing the vessel to surface. The seven sailors were taken to a hospital and were said to be in satisfactory condition.

3Boy Survives Being Submerged for 42 Minutes


In 2015, a group of six boys jumped into a canal in Milan. Five came back up right away, but the sixth, a 14-year-old named Michael, became stuck, trapped in only two meters (6.5 ft) of water. It took 42 minutes before rescuers were able to free him. By then, his heart had stopped.

Doctors managed to restart Michael’s heart. He was then placed on life support so that his heart and lungs could recover. For ten days, Michael remained in an induced coma and underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a technique which removes oxygen-depleted blood from the body and adds oxygen and warms it before returning it to the body. His right leg did have to be amputated below the knee, but 15 days after the accident, an MRI indicated that Michael’s brain was apparently undamaged.

Amazingly, four weeks after Michael went into the canal, he woke up and spoke to his parents. He was completely coherent and could remember the events before the accident. He even asked for a mojito at one point. His doctor speculates that the cold water of the canal slowed down Michael’s bodily functions and likely played a factor in his survival.

2The Johnson Sea Link

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On June 17, 1973, a submersible called the Johnson Sea Link descended into the waters off Key West, Florida, with four men aboard: Archibald Menzies, Robert Meek, Edwin Link, and Albert Stover. Their goal was to retrieve a fish trap from the USS Fred T. Berry, a scuttled destroyer.

They could not retrieve the trap, and at around 9:45 a.m., the Johnson Sea Link became tangled in a cable in the shipwreck, 110 meters (360 ft) underwater. The US Navy sent the USS Tringa to help. The ship arrived around six hours later, but it took time to determine the submersible’s exact location, as it had no distress buoy. To make matters worse, the submersible’s carbon dioxide scrubber failed in the meantime.

By the evening of June 17, the temperature in the submersible had dropped to around seven degrees Celsius (45 °F), roughly the temperature of the surrounding water. The men were not dressed for such conditions, and the air was becoming less and less breathable.

The first rescue attempt by the Tringa’s crew at around 11:00 p.m. was hindered by the shipwreck. Link and Stover were breathing from air tanks by this point, and the helium-oxygen mix they were breathing only exacerbated body heat loss. The atmospheric pressure inside the Johnson Sea Link had also increased greatly. By 1:12 a.m., Link and Stover were convulsing.

Two further rescue attempts by the Tringa failed for various reasons, as did an attempt by another submersible. Finally, with the help of another ship, theJohnson Sea Link was able to break the surface at 4:53 p.m. on June 18. Link and Stover did not survive.

1The Kursk


On August 12, 2000, Russia was conducting a large-scale naval exercise. Among the 33 vessels in the Barents Sea that day was the Kursk, an Oscar-class nuclear submarine. The Kursk was highly regarded. Boasts included that it could withstand a direct torpedo hit, that it could engage entire groups of US ships, and that it was unsinkable.

It is believed that during the exercise, fuel leaking from a damaged torpedo triggered an explosion. The subsequent fire caused five to seven torpedoes to explode, ripping the sub open. It came to rest on the seabed 108 meters (354 ft) below the surface, roughly 135 kilometers (84 mi) off the coast of Severomorsk.

Bad weather hampered Russian rescue attempts for days while they initially refused to admit that any disaster had occurred. Russia was also wary of accepting foreign help, given the advanced nature of the Kursk, but eventually relented. On August 21, they finally admitted that the crew was dead.

Not all of the 118 men aboard the Kursk died immediately, however. Norwegian divers found that 23 men had survived for some amount of time in the Kursk’s aft compartment. There were reports of tapping sounds coming from the wreck on August 13. The tapping was said to have stopped on August 14. A letter found on Lieutenant Captain Dmitry Kolesnikov provided details of the trapped men’s final days, painting a picture of dropping temperatures, dimming lights, leaking water, and fouling air. Some men were badly burned, and others had been injured by flying debris. Kolesnikov wrote, “None of us can get to the surface.”

Anthony occasionally babbles about things on his blog.

10 Dark Secrets Of The Mongol Empire

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10 Dark Secrets Of The Mongol Empire



In the 13th century, the Mongols erupted from their isolated homeland, forming one of the greatest empires the world has ever known. Although they had a reputation as simple warriors, the Mongol ruling family soon became the richest and most powerful clan on Earth. Moving from felt tents to their great palace city at Karakorum, the Mongol court hid all sorts of dark secrets.




Photo credit: Burumbator

Genghis Khan committed his first murder at age 14. According to a near-contemporary chronicle known as The Secret History Of The Mongols, the young Temujin was often bullied by his older half-brother Begter. After Begter stole some food from them, Temujin and his younger brother Qasar crept up on Begter through the long grass and riddled him with arrows.

Unsurprisingly, Genghis remained fond of murder as a problem-solving method and a number of his enemies died sudden and suspicious deaths. A particularly petty case involved a famous Mongol wrestler named Buri, who had made the mistake of humiliating Genghis’s brother Belgutei in a match before Genghis’s rise to power.

The Secret History relates that after Temujin became Genghis Khan, he invited Buri for a rematch. Frightened by the khan’s power, Buri took what he thought was the safe option and allowed Belgutei to throw and pin him.

But at a signal from Genghis, Belgutei pressed his knee into Buri’s back and hauled on his collarbone, breaking his spine. The paralyzed wrestler was then dragged outside and left to die, presumably while contemplating his decision to throw a match before a ruler who had never respected cowardice.



Photo credit: indiandefence.com

Although Genghis Khan restricted the use of torture, Mongol executions were often extremely grisly. When Guyuk Khan suspected that the powerful courtier Fatima had poisoned his brother, Guyuk had her tortured into confessing before “her upper and lower orifices were sewn up and she was rolled up in a sheet of felt and thrown into the river.”

The Mongols traditionally had a taboo against shedding royal blood, so another favorite method of execution was crushing. The Abbasid Caliph al-Musta’sim was rolled up in a carpet and trampled to death by stampeding horses. After the Battle of the Kalka River, captured Russian princes were shoved under some floorboards and crushed as the Mongols held their victory feast on top of them.

Genghis himself ordered that a captured Tangut ruler be renamed Shidurqu (“Loyal”) before he was crushed, so that his spirit would be forced to serve the Mongols in the afterlife. He was lucky compared to the Persian noble who was covered in sheep fat, wrapped in felt, and left tied up in the hot sun to meet his fate.




Photo credit: Wikia

Despite the Mongol reputation as bluff, uncomplicated warriors, they were as fond of intrigue as any other people and the court often resembled a snake pit of competing factions. One of the earliest and most serious incidents came during the reign of Genghis himself when the shaman Teb Tengri began maneuvering to replace the khan’s brothers as the dominant power at court.

Teb Tengri first targeted the khan’s brother Qasar, reporting a prophetic vision that Qasar would try to take power for himself. Genghis immediately ordered Qasar arrested and seemed likely to sentence him to death.

The day was saved by Genghis’s mother, Hoelun. When she heard that Qasar had been arrested, she drove her cart through the night and burst into the khan’s tent. With Genghis too astonished to respond, she untied Qasar, whipped her coat off, and demanded to know if her sons could recognize the breasts that had suckled them. She then berated Genghis up and down the tent until the ashamed khan agreed to release his brother.

The shaman waited until Hoelun died before making another move, stealing the inheritance that should have gone to her youngest son, Temuge. When Temuge complained, Teb Tengri’s brothers beat Temuge and forced him to kneel and beg the shaman for his life.

This time, Genghis’s wife Borte intervened, warning that the shaman might move against Genghis one day. At this, Genghis resorted to his favorite trick and staged a wrestling match in which Teb Tengri’s back was broken and the paralyzed shaman was left outside to die.

7Sex Slavery


Photo credit: historyonthenet.com

Although many Mongol women rose to positions of great power, the Mongols themselves weren’t exactly feminists. Foreign women captured on their campaigns were forcibly married to Mongol men or forced into service as concubines. The Mongols also often demanded young maidens as tribute from subject peoples.

In one famous example, the Siberian queen Botohui-tarhun (“Big And Fierce”) became one of the few people to defeat a Mongol army when she lured one of Genghis’s generals into an ambush. A later expedition defeated the Siberians and captured Botohui-tarhun, who was married off to a Mongol soldier and disappeared from history.

Some noble women made the best of a bad situation. When Genghis conquered the Merkids, he gave their princess, Toregene, to his son Ogedei. She soon eclipsed Ogedei’s other wives and ruled the empire for five years after his death.



Photo via Wikimedia

As impoverished herders, the Mongols had limited access to alcohol. They mostly drank fermented mare’s milk, which was only mildly alcoholic and not available year-round.

However, after the conquests of Genghis Khan, wealth flowed into the former backwater and many Mongols found themselves living lives of leisure, with unlimited access to wine and distilled spirits. As a result, alcoholism had already become a huge problem by the time of Genghis’s death.

Even the Great Khan’s family wasn’t immune, and at least two of his sons, Tolui and Ogedei, drank themselves to death. Their brother Chagatai was forced to strictly order his servants not to let him have more than a few cups a day.

The problem was particularly acute with Ogedei, who had succeeded Genghis as khan. Ogedei was almost completely dependent on wine, to the point that Persian historian Ata-Malek Juvayni claims that Ogedei often made key decisions drunk.

His minister, Yelu Chucai, repeatedly made the khan promise to drink less. But the promise never stuck, especially since his wife, Toregene, encouraged him to stay drunk so that she could take power for herself.

The problem didn’t end with Genghis’s sons. The European monk William of Rubruck visited the court of his grandson Mongke and reported a pervasive drinking culture, including a silver tree with four pipes that freely dispensed wine, rice wine, mead, and fermented mare’s milk.


5The Kidnapping That Helped Create And Destroy The Empire


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Around 1178, a newlywed named Borte was kidnapped by Merkid tribesmen. Her enraged husband, Temujin, quickly assembled a small coalition and attacked the Merkids, rescuing Borte and establishing his reputation as a formidable warrior. It was arguably the moment that put Temujin on the path to becoming Genghis Khan.

Yet if the kidnapping helped create the Mongol Empire, it also helped destroy it. By the time Borte was rescued, she was several months pregnant and no one could say for sure whether the father was her husband or one of her rapists. By all accounts, Temujin accepted the child as his. But the rumors persisted.

Many years later, the aging Genghis Khan called his family together to designate a successor. The obvious choice was his oldest son, Jochi. But his second son, Chagatai, insisted that he should take precedence over the “bastard son of a Merkid,” and the meeting descended into an undignified brawl.

Despite their father’s pleas, the brothers refused to reconcile. This forced a compromise where the throne went to Genghis’s third son, the alcoholic Ogedei, setting the stage for years of infighting and strife that eventually broke the empire apart.

4The Purge


Genghis Khan carefully ensured that his son Ogedei would take the throne without opposition on Genghis’s death. The real problems started when Ogedei drank himself to death in 1241. Political infighting escalated into a vicious purge that almost exterminated the descendants of two of Genghis’s four sons.

Power was initially seized by Ogedei’s wife, Toregene, who ruled the empire for five years while she schemed to have her wastrel son Guyuk elected khan. She succeeded after much intrigue, including the execution of Genghis’s surviving brother, Temuge. But Guyuk turned against her after she tried to keep power for herself. Toregene’s advisers were executed, and the queen herself died under extremely mysterious circumstances.

Guyuk’s own sudden death two years later threw things back into chaos as the descendants of Jochi and Tolui teamed up to put Tolui’s son Mongke on the throne. They were opposed by the Chagataids and Ogedeids, who apparently tried to assassinate Mongke and stage a coup. In response,Mongke staged a massive purge.

The ministers of Ogedei and Guyuk were rounded up and murdered. Meanwhile, the army was formed into a massive line and sent sweeping through Mongolia, rounding up Ogedeid princes for execution. Special tribunals called jarghus were sent through the empire, conducting show trials of Ogedeid loyalists. The Ogedeids and Chagataids took years to recover, as the Toluids cemented their grip on the empire.

3Civil War


Photo credit: doliva1.wixsite.com

The first Mongol civil war almost broke out during the short reign of Guyuk. At a banquet in Russia, Guyuk had been involved in a moronic squabble with Jochi’s son Batu, which ended with Guyuk screaming that Batu “was just an old woman.”

The two were fierce rivals after that, and Batu refused to come to Mongolia to pay homage when Guyuk took the throne. In response, Guyuk summoned his army and marched on Batu’s territory in Russia. Fortunately, Guyuk died en route and outright war was averted.

The Mongols were less lucky after the death of Mongke Khan, as his brothers Kublai Khan and Ariq Boke quickly tore the empire apart in a massive civil war to determine who would succeed Mongke. In the chaos, the Ogedei and Chagatai clans made a comeback.

However, the clans of Jochi and Hulagu, Mongke’s other brother, broke away into independent states in the West, which became known as the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate. The Mongol Empire would never truly be whole again.

2Religious Fanaticism


Photo credit: taringa.net

Although they were among the most religiously tolerant empires in history, the Mongol ruling clan fervently believed they had been set on a divine mission that justified the nightmarish slaughter of their conquests. In 1218, Genghis Khan climbed the pulpit of a mosque in the recently conquered city of Bukhara and informed the quaking citizens: “You have committed great sins. [ . . . ] If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

Many years later, Genghis’s grandson Guyuk struck a similar note in a letter to Pope Innocent IV: “Thanks to the power of the eternal Heaven, all lands have been given to us from sunrise to sunset. [ . . . ] If you do not obey the commands of Heaven and run counter to our orders, we shall know that you are our foe.”

Another grandson, Mongke Khan, wrote to King Louis of France boasting that “in Heaven there is only one eternal God, and on Earth, there is only one lord, Genghis Khan. [ . . . ] When, by the virtue of the eternal God, from the rising of the Sun to the setting, all the world shall be in universal joy and peace, then shall be manifested what we are to be.”

Hulagu Khan neatly summed things up in another letter: “God . . . spoke to our grandfather, Genghis Khan, through Teb Tengri, saying ”I have set thee over the nations . . . to throw down, to build, and to plant. [ . . . ] Those who do not believe will later learn [their] punishment.”

1The Plan To Exterminate The Chinese


Photo credit: Rrmarcellus

The Mongols were always most comfortable on the open plains, which provided plenty of fodder for their horses. Months or years before embarking on a campaign, they would send smaller detachments of soldiers ahead to burn farms, orchards, and villages. This allowed the land to revert to pasture by the time the main Mongol army arrived.

Infuriated by the difficulty of conquering a heavily developed land like China, Ogedei Khan considered a horrifying expansion of this scheme. Essentially, the plan was to slaughter the northern Chinese peasantry and turn the former territory of the Jin dynasty into one huge pasture.

This genocidal scheme was stopped largely through the efforts of Ogedei’s Chinese adviser, Yelu Chucai. He persuaded the khan that introducing a system of taxation would be more beneficial in the long run by providing a steady stream of revenue to fund the Mongol conquests. Fortunately, Ogedei listened to his minister and never signed off on the plan to ethnically cleanse northern China.